Sunday, October 19, 2008

COM: My Heroes I

Two of my heroes made the news this weekend. I coached their sons Hank, Jason and Noodle . . .

Family ties
By Alyson Chapman, The Daily Times, Published October 18, 2008

Every family is unique. Some have one child. Others have three.

As of Wednesday, the Poormans of Kerrville have six and are expecting another in the next few months.

No trips to the hospital for the Poormans’ two new children. They went to the Kerr County Courthouse.

“It’s an exciting day,” said father Hal Poorman with a big smile on his face.

The excitement could be felt during the court hearing as the Poormans adopted sisters Maria, 12, and Llaneli, 14.

Mom Deb Poorman brushed Maria’s long black hair before heading to the front of the courtroom for the final adoption proceeding.

For the last four years, Maria and Llaneli have lived with the Poormans in foster care.

“This is something we prayed about,” Deb said. “God talks to us, and we like to think we listen. When God answers us, he answers us in no uncertain terms. He leaves no room for doubt. We will never have to regret the fact that these are the kids we adopted. ”

The Poormans, both 55 and Tivy High School graduates and sweethearts, also are in the process of adopting Maria and Llaneli’s older sister Corina, 18.

The answer to their prayer about adopting all three girls was given in a specific way, Deb said.

“We only had one bathroom. We decided if God wanted us to keep these three girls, then we would need another bathroom,” she said. “Within 24 hours, Hal’s sister called and said his mother’s house had sold. She died seven years ago. We now had the money to add onto our house.”

For the past 34 years, the Poormans have never had an empty nest. Always bustling with the pitter-patter and stomping of children’s feet.

They have three grown biological sons, another adopted son, Walter, 18, and have fostered 88 children in the last 16 years.

“God gave us the gift of hospitality to take in kids who are not ours and not judge them by where they came from,” Deb said. “You cannot change what a child has lived through, but you can help these children with their future.”

Maria and Llaneli were placed in the Poorman home at the ages of 8 and 10. They, along with their sister and three brothers, were taken away by Child Protective Services from a home where alcoholism and prostitution took place.

“They came from very dire poverty,” Deb said. “They have really blossomed over the last four years.”

Five years ago, Deb was diagnosed with lymphoma. While fighting the cancer, she didn’t foster any children. But as soon as she beat it, she began fostering again.

The girls were placed in the Poorman home by a local agency, Caring Family Network, which supports foster and adoptive parents.

The Poormans first fostered Maria and Llaneli’s brothers for a week and then came Maria and Llaneli, who will never have to worry about leaving for another foster home.

“It was meant to be,” Deb said. “They are very intelligent and caring.”

The girls’ brothers are in the process of adoption to other families.

Deb said family is her passion, and that’s something she hopes to pass along to her children — fostered, adopted or biological.

“We hope we have instilled in them the values of compassion, helping others and basic family values. That’s almost a lost art these days,” she said. “We feel like self-pity is a waste of time. You can’t do anything about your past, but can do everything about your future.

“Too many excuses are made for people for the reason they can’t do things. You still make choices. The choices you make today determine your future.”

Deb said they’re not done fostering children even though they don’t have any foster children in their home right now.

“Family values are too important. So many years of parenting, we are wiser than we once were,” she said. “No, we’re not finished until God says you are in the grave.”

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